2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES
- When: Pool swimming: Saturday, July 24 – Sunday, August 1, 2021
- Open Water swimming: Wednesday, August 4 – Thursday, August 5, 2021
- Where: Olympic Aquatics Centre / Tokyo, Japan
- Heats: 7 PM / Semifinals & Finals: 10:30 AM (Local time)
- Full aquatics schedule
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- Entry Lists
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- Day 5 Prelims Heat Sheet
- Day 5 Prelims Recap
- Full 800 free relay prelims results
The Australian Olympic Committee has revealed that the country will unroll an entirely new foursome for finals of the women’s 800 free relay on Thursday morning.
According to the Australian Olympic Committee’s recap:
Intriguingly, McKeon scratched from the 200m freestyle at Tokyo but with it was revealed after Australia blitzed all opposition in the 4x200m freestyle relay heats that the Dolphins will field a completely new quartet for the final. That is an extraordinary demonstration of depth but with Ariarne Titmus winning the individual 200m freestyle here, Madi Wilson placing eighth in the final, McKeon holding the seventh fastest time in the event, 1:54.55, and – presumably either Cate Campbell or Leah Neale to be called upon, Australia looks like selecting an awesome quartet to race for gold.
Still, spare a thought for 17-year-old Molly O’Callaghan who posted a 1:55.11 in the lead-off leg, a time which knocked Bronte Barratt out of the 18th fastest time in history. After O’Callaghan the strong performances kept coming with Meg Harris (1.57.01), Brianna Throssell (1.56.46) and Tasmin Cook (1.56.03) all swam their hearts out, knowing that none of them would swim for gold on.
As pointed out in our relay substitutions breakdown here, O’Callaghan’s 1:55.11 leadoff leg gave the Australians a really difficult choice to make. Their hand is forced to use Leah Neale on the relay, because it’s the only event on her schedule, and Madi Wilson swam the event individually for Australia, and so there is some pressure to use her as well.
So even though O’Callaghan’s leadoff leg is faster than what we’ve seen from Neale or Wilson, they’ll both get the nod in the finals heat as the Australians race for gold. Technically, Australia did not name the finals group, but there are no obvious options beyond the four listed as substitutions below.
Australia (1st seed)
|Mollie O’Callaghan – 1:55.11||
Ariarne Titmus – 1:53.09
|Meg Harris – 1:57.01||
Emma McKeon – 1:54.74
|Brianna Throssell – 1:56.46||
Madi Wilson – 1:55.68
|Tamsin Cook – 1:56.03||
Leah Neale – 1:56.08
|Time – 7:44.61|
That probably doesn’t impact their chances at winning – they were 3 seconds ahead of the field in prelims, and the addition of McKeon and Titmus is far better than any other country has in reserve. It might, however, impact their chase for the World Record that Australia set at the 2019 World Championships.
That record-setting quartet was:
- Ariarne Titmus – 1:54.27
- Madi Wilson – 1:56.73
- Brianna Throssell – 1:55.60
- Emma McKeon – 1:54.90
- Final Time – 7:41.50
Thursday morning’s finals relay then will essentially swap in Neale (who swam a prelims leg at Worlds) for Throssell.
We don’t yet know Neale’s form at this meet, so she could come through and do her bit to still chase that record, but it’s going to be hard for her or Wilson to do better than O’Callaghan’s split from prelims.